It was a wild, wild eighth inning Tuesday night at Chase Field.
The Arizona Diamondbacks entered the frame with a 3-2 lead, and reliever Brad Ziegler took the mound for the first time in the evening.
The 34-year-old right-hander had runners on first and third with no outs after Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera recorded back-to-back singles. Victor Martinez grounded to Paul Goldschmidt at first base, who threw down to catcher Miguel Montero, and the Diamondbacks got Kinsler into a pickle and tagged him out, giving the impression that Ziegler might escape the inning with the lead intact.
J.D. Martinez then lined a pitch up the middle that deflected hard off the Arizona reliever, who couldn’t recover it and throw anyone out in time. The bases were loaded at that point. Torii Hunter came to the plate and singled in two runners, and the Tigers were sitting pretty with a 4-3 lead and one out in the eighth. Eury De La Rosa then spelled Ziegler and recorded the last two outs of the frame, intentionally walking one batter in the process.
Tigers reliever Phil Coke got Didi Gregorius to line out to lead off the bottom of the inning, but the pitcher then walked two Arizona batters in a row. Al Alburquerque came in for Detroit and got Aaron Hill to fly out to left, but he then loaded the bases with a walk of Goldschmidt. The Tigers subbed in another pitcher, Ian Krol, who allowed the tying and winning runs to score for Arizona when Montero singled to center. Detroit would sub in one more pitcher to get out of the inning, and the D-backs went into the ninth with a one-run lead.
Addison Reed came on to close, and although he walked one, he kept the Tigers scoreless in the frame, picking up his 24th save as Arizona tied up the series with a 5-4 victory.
The Diamondbacks improved to 44-57 — moving into third place in the NL West by a couple of percentage points over the San Diego Padres (43-56, .434) — while Detroit fell to 55-42 but still retained its spot atop the AL Central.
Here’s a look at Tuesday’s back-and-forth game by the numbers:
Arizona recorded only six hits in the game (Detroit had 10), and Tuesday was one of those rare nights in which Goldschmidt did not have one of them. The first baseman went 0-for-3 in the game with one walk. His batting average dropped to .307 in the win, and he struck out for the 99th time in the season.
Two relief appearances, two straight wins for De La Rosa — the only two victories of his young career. The 24-year-old left-hander struck out two and walked one in two-thirds of an inning of Tuesday.
Diamondbacks super rookie David Peralta tripled not once, but twice off Tigers starting pitcher Rick Porcello. Peralta scored both times after those triples thanks to an Aaron Hill sacrifice fly and groundout to shortstop, respectively. The 26-year-old outfielder also made it home for the go-ahead run in the eighth inning after getting walked by Coke. Peralta went 2-for-3 in the game for his 18th multi-hit performance of the year, which is second among all Major League rookies.
Ziegler lasted just one-third of an inning, allowing two earned runs and four hits in 15 pitches while recording his fifth blown save of the year. His ERA is still a low 2.84 even after the poor outing. Let’s hope he’s OK after taking that line drive off J.D. Martinez’s bat.
Diamondbacks starter Chase Anderson went 6.0 innings for the fourth time this season, tying his second-longest start. The 26-year-old rookie struck out five (giving him 52 on the season) and gave up two earned runs, three walks and five hits in 93 pitches. His stat line was fairly similar to Porcello, who went one extra inning but allowed three earned runs on five hits while striking out five. Porcello, however, only threw 77 pitches and did not walk one batter.
Hill’s first-inning home run, his eighth of the year, extended his hitting streak to seven games, four of which have been multi-hit performances. The second baseman had the Diamondbacks’ only three RBI of the evening until Montero drove in two in the eighth frame. Hill’s 48 RBI are third on the team.
Montero went 2-for-4 in the game (driving his average up to .263) with two RBI, and has now driven in 58 runs on the year, second on the team behind Goldschmidt’s 65. Montero is just 30 RBI away from his career high of 88 in 2012, and his 11 home runs in 2014 aren’t far off from his personal best of 18, which happened three seasons ago.
Outfielder Mark Trumbo went 0-for-3, grounding out three times (one for a double play). His average dropped to .198 after the rough game, and he has gone hitless in four of the eight contests he’s played since returning from the disabled list.
Yes, the Diamondbacks’ win and improvement to a .436 winning percentage technically has them third in the division, which isn’t too shabby considering they’ve been in the cellar most of the year. San Diego’s loss in Chicago has both the Padres and the Diamondbacks 12.5 games back of NL West leader San Francisco, as well as 11.5 behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. Arizona’s victory Tuesday was its fourth in five games since coming out of the All-Star break.